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Standards for licensable Houses in Multiple Occupation

Find the minimum standards we require in all licensed Houses in Multiple Occupation
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We will refer to these minimum standards when we decide on the maximum number of households or persons that can occupy a property.

There are definitions of the terms used in these standards at the bottom of this page.

Kitchens

Location, layout and condition

  • Unless kitchens contain a suitable dining area, they must be positioned within two floors of any bedroom or unit of accommodation and must be directly accessible from the communal areas.
  • The kitchen size and layout must allow the occupants to safely use the kitchen and to store, prepare and cook food in a safe and hygienic way.
  • All floor surfaces must be reasonably smooth, waterproof and capable of being cleaned.
  • All corners and wall to floor junctions must be properly sealed.
  • All wall surfaces must be smooth and capable of being readily cleaned. Where possible, a two course tiled splash back shall be provided behind the sink, worktop and cooker. A proprietary mastic sealant shall be used to seal all joints between the sink or worktop and the adjacent walls.
  • All kitchen areas must be provided with adequate lighting, particularly over the cooking and food preparation areas.
  • All kitchen areas, and in particular the cooking area, must be properly ventilated to the external air either by an operable window or suitable mechanical ventilation system.
  • All facilities and equipment must be fit for purpose.

Shared use sinks

  • An adequately sized sink and drainer must be provided for every six occupants (or part thereof) that share the kitchen. The sink and drainer must be set on a stable base. Consideration will be given to the use of a dishwasher for addition occupants.
  • The surface of the sink and drainer must be smooth, waterproof and capable of being cleaned.
  • Each sink must have an adequate supply of cold and constant hot water and must be properly connected to the mains drainage system.
  • The cold water supply shall be direct from the mains supply.

Private sinks

  • The surface of the sink and drainer must be smooth, waterproof and capable of being cleaned.
  • Each sink must have an adequate supply of cold and constant hot water and must be properly connected to the mains drainage system.
  • The cold water supply shall be direct from the mains supply.

Shared cookers

  • There must be a gas or electric full sized cooker with four hobs for every five occupants (or part thereof) within the property.
  • There must be an oven for every five occupants (or part thereof) within the property.
  • Consideration will be given to the use of a micro wave with built in oven for addition occupants.

Shared electrical sockets

  • There must be two double electrical sockets, plus one additional socket for each major appliance e.g. cooker, refrigerator, freezer, washing machine.
  • These two double electrical sockets must be positioned within the food preparation area, at worktop level and in a safe position.

Private electrical sockets

  • There must be two double electrical sockets, plus one additional socket for each major appliance e.g. cooker, refrigerator, freezer, washing machine.
  • These two double electrical sockets must be positioned within the food preparation area, at worktop level and in a safe position.

Shared worktop

  • There must be a securely fixed worktop of smooth, waterproof material for every five occupants (or part thereof) within the property.
  • This worktop must be at least 1500mm X 600mm deep, excluding any area covered by a major appliance.

Private worktop

  • There must be a securely fixed worktop of smooth, waterproof material.
  • This worktop must be at least 1000mm X 600mm deep, excluding any area covered by a major appliance.

Shared storage

  • There must be a dry goods storage cupboard of minimum capacity 0.15m3 (500 x 600 x 500mm) per occupant.
  • This storage cupboard must be finished internally and externally with smooth and waterproof surfaces.
  • The space in any cupboard below a sink will not be considered acceptable for this purpose.
  • The storage cupboard can be in the shared kitchen or in each unit of accommodation

Private storage

  • There must be a dry goods storage cupboard of minimum capacity 0.15m3 (500 x 600 x 500mm) per occupant.
  • This storage cupboard must be finished internally and externally with smooth waterproof surfaces.
  • The space in any cupboard below a sink will not be considered acceptable for this purpose.

Shared refrigerators

  • There must be a refrigerator for every five occupants (or part thereof) within the property.
  • The refrigerator must have a freezer compartment or there must be a separate freezer.

Private refrigerators

  • There must be a refrigerator.
  • This refrigerator must have a freezer compartment or there must be a separate freezer.

Refuse

  • There must be appropriate facilities for storing rubbish generated by the property.
  • The property must comply with the scheme, which may be subject to change, issued by the local authority for the storage and disposal of domestic refuse pending collection. A licence holder’s failure to comply with the scheme is a breach of the licence and a criminal offence.

Bathroom and toilet facilities

Location, layout and condition

  • All bathroom and toilet facilities should be located in enclosed rooms of an adequate size and layout.
  • All bathroom and toilet facilities should be within two floors of any bedroom or unit of accommodation and directly accessible from the communal areas unless provided as en-suite facilities for the exclusive use of that occupant.
  • All bathroom and toilet facilities should be inside the main building.
  • All bathroom and toilet facilities must be in a hygienically designed and constructed room. This room must have appropriate wall and floor surface finishes.
  • All bathrooms and toilets must be suitably heated, lighted and ventilated.
  • All baths, showers and wash hand basins must be fitted with taps and supplied with cold water and a constant supply of hot water. They must also be properly connected to the mains drainage system.
  • All wash hand basins and baths must be provided with a two course tiled splash back.
  • Shower cubicles must be fully tiled or be complete self-standing cubicles.
  • All baths, toilets and wash hand basins must be fit for the purpose.

Shared toilets, baths and showers

  • There must be at least one fixed bath or shower available for every five occupants (or part thereof).
  • There must be at least one toilet separate to the bathroom for every five occupants (or part thereof).
  • There must be a wash hand basin  in each bathroom and compartment containing a toilet.

Private toilets, baths and showers

  • There must be a fixed bath or shower and toilet with wash hand basin either within the unit of accommodation or within reasonable proximity of the living accommodation.
  • The room must have an unobstructed area of a minimum of 450mm diameter on plan for use of the facilities.

Heating

Fixed heating

The minimum level of energy efficiency provisions are designed to ensure that, unless an exemption applies, a licenced HMO has an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of E or more efficient.

  • All units of accommodation must be equipped with adequate means of space heating capable of maintaining a temperature of 21 degrees celsius when the outside temperature is -1 degrees celsius.
  • Electrical heating appliances must have a dedicated electrical socket. If the heating is provided by instantaneous electrical type it must be capable of being controlled by a room thermostat.
  • The heating must be available at all times and must be under the control of the occupant.
  • The method of heating must be safe and should be efficient and affordable.
  • Where heating is provided by a gas or electric central heating system, the fuel supply must be via a quarterly credit meter and not a key or card meter. This does not apply where a system is exclusive to a unit of accommodation or the HMO is let by a single tenancy agreement.

Fire precautions and safety

Fire risk assessments

Portable appliances

  • All portable electrical appliances provided by the landlord must be maintained in a safe condition and proper working order.
  • Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) should be carried out every twelve months with records kept for at least five years.
  • Any necessary maintenance or repair work must be undertaken by a competent electrical engineer.
  • We may request copies of all maintenance records and PAT testing.

Electrical safety

  • The electrical installation must be maintained in a safe condition and proper working order.
  • A full electrical safety inspection must be carried out at least every five years and an NICEIC or other equivalent electrical safety certificate obtained.
  • Any necessary maintenance or repair works must be undertaken by a competent electrical engineer in accordance with Part P of the Building Regulations.
  • Copies of the electrical certificate must be provided to the us on request.

Gas safety

  • If gas is supplied to the property, a gas safety certificate must be submitted to us annually.
  • The gas safety certificate must relate to the whole gas installation and include all gas appliances. It must demonstrate that all appliances have been serviced and safety checked within the previous twelve months. Any defects noted on the certificate must be rectified.

Room sizes

  • All units of accommodation shall be large enough to provide sufficient space for living, sleeping, food storage and preparation, except where there is a separate shared kitchen provided.
  • The room sizes specified below are the minimum sizes that will be accepted within licensed HMOs.
    • All habitable rooms, bathrooms and toilets shall have a minimum floor to ceiling height of 2.14m.
    • Any existing attic rooms shall have a minimum height of 2.14m over not less than 75% of the room area.
    • Any floor area where the ceiling height is less than 1.5m shall be disregarded.
  • In calculating the floor area, we will not normally include the space occupied by corridors, bathrooms, toilet compartments, and chimney breasts.

Bedsit-type accommodation

  • Each single-person bedsit with exclusive kitchen facilities shall be minimum 13m2. The bedsit can be reduced to minimum 10.22m2 if there is a separate shared kitchen.
  • Each double-person bedsit with exclusive kitchen facilities shall be minimum 18.5m2. The bedsit can be reduced to minimum 15m2 if there is a separate shared kitchen.

Shared-type houses or flats

  • Each single bedroom shall be minimum 6.51m2, assuming there are separate kitchen and bathroom facilities and that there is a separate living area.
  • Each double bedroom shall be minimum 10.22m2, assuming there are separate kitchen and bathroom facilities and that there is a separate living area.

Shared kitchens

  • Kitchens shared by up to five people must be at least 6.51m2.
  • Kitchens shared by up to ten people must be at least 11m2.

Pest control

  • The licence holder must take reasonable steps to proof the property from rats and mice.
  • If the license holder becomes aware of a pest infestation, steps must be taken to eradicate all pests in a timely manner.
  • For a list of pests that fall within this responsibility, please see the definitions section below.

Application of these standards

  • All facilities in this standard must be available to the occupants at all times.
  • When a licensing application is received, we will check whether the property complies with these minimum standards.
  • These standards may be varied at the discretion of the Licensing Officer.
  • If the property does not fully comply any necessary remedial works will become a licence condition.
  • When setting licence conditions, we may set a timescale for the work to be completed.
  • Even if a property complies with these standards, we may still require other works to be carried out.
  • A Council Officer may carry out a full inspection of the property within five years of the licence being granted.The Officer will decide whether any further work is required to bring the property up to a reasonable standard under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS). The Officer will also check that the property is being properly managed and maintained in accordance with the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006.

Definitions

Unit of accommodation

Part of the HMO occupied by a single household. This includes bedrooms in shared houses or flats, bed-sitting rooms or self-contained flats.

Bedsit

Traditionally an exclusive rooms or room(s) with the sharing of one or more amenities.

Shared- type houses or flats

Traditionally occupied by a defined social group, namely student lets

Shared use

Where one or more basic amenities, such as the bathroom, toilet or kitchen facilities, are shared by two of more households.

Exclusive use

Where one or more basic amenities are provided for the sole use of a single household.

Occupant(s)

Everyone living in the property regardless of age.

Single household

Person(s) of the same family group. If a group of people share a property, each person is defined as a single household unless they are all members of the same family.

Family

Includes husband, wife, partner, child, step-child, step-parent, grandchild, grandparent, brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister, aunt, uncle, niece, cousin, foster child.

Pests

Examples of pests are rats, mice, bedbugs, flees, cockroaches, wasps, and pharaoh ants.

Further information

Should you require any further information, please contact:

Private Sector Housing Agency

Third Floor, Laurence House, 1 Catford Road, London, SE6 4RU
Email: pshe@lewisham.gov.uk
Telephone: 020 8314 6420